I was so excited to tell you all about this delicious new cake recipe I had found. Delia’s grated chocolate and almond cake. It was going to be amazing! And then in true King Arthur style, I burnt my cake. Who burns their cakes?? I mean, overcooked cake – been there. Undercooked cake – tick. But outright burnt? Not something I’ve managed before. And it was down to complete stupidity, which is the most annoying part.
My mother always used to tell me to read exam questions twice before answering. She knows me well. I tend to get bored half way through reading something then skip to the end, thus missing out key pieces of information. And so it was on Saturday when I read “pre-heat the oven to 220°c”, then duly popped my cake into the searing inferno for 30 minutes, expertly missing out the sentence (in bold no less) telling me to reduce the temperature to 170°c after putting the cake in the oven.
You might think I would have questioned the fact I was putting my cake into such a hot oven. But it was a Delia recipe! And in Delia we trust for she is always right. And she was again this time. If only I could read.
So 30 minutes into the cooking process I take a peek into the oven and spot that the cake’s looking pretty brown and domed and altogether a bit of a disaster. It wasn’t cooked through so I just covered it with some foil to protect it and, moment of inspiration, turned down the temperature. 15 minutes later it was done in the middle but, when I took it out of the tin, it looked like the smouldering leftovers from a bonfire. Sad times indeed.
But never one to give up I decided to do a little cake sculpture to see if I could salvage any of it. And lo and behold I could! It wasn’t perfect (unsurprisingly a little dry given its rapid fire cooking), but nothing that a few strawberries on the side couldn’t fix. The dark chocolate included in the sponge and used to top it means it’s not overly sweet, and it has a delicious hint of almonds. A great afternoon treat or even a dessert if you served it with some ice cream on the side perhaps?
PS Sorry for the lack of pre-decoartion cake photos – I gave up on the photos after witnessing the charred top and sides but having had a taste of my salvaged cake decided it was too good not to share!
Grated Chocolate & Almond Cake
From Delia’s Cakes by Delia Smith
For the sponge:
110g unsalted butter at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons milk
175g self raising flour, sifted
110g ground almonds
110g grated dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum), chilled
175g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
1 rounded tablespoon creme fraiche – I didn’t have any so used 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon milk
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°c /200°c fan / 420°c f /gas mark 7. Grease and line a 20cm loose bottom cake tin.
2. Place the butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk, flour and ground almonds in a mixing bowl and whisk for about 1-2 minutes until smooth. Fold in the grated chocolate.
3. In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage (like the picture above). Fold half of them into the cake mix gently so as not to lose too much air, followed by the other half.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, level off with the back of a spoon and place it in the centre of the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°c/150°c fan/ 330°f / gas mark 3. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted (barring a few chocolate flecks).
5. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before standing it on a tin or bowl and gently easing the sides of the tin down and off. Slide the cake onto a cooling rack and leaving to cool fully.
6. Meanwhile, place the broken chocolate into a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Once the chocolate’s melted (5-10 minutes), take off the heat and using a balloon whisk, whisk in the creme fraiche/butter and milk so the sauce thickens slightly.
7. Split the cake in half horizontally. The best way to do this as Delia advises is to use a serrated knife (I use a bread knife), put one hand on top of the cake and use a gentle sawing motion to go through the cake.
8. Use half of the chocolate to sandwich the cake together, then spread the remaining chocolate on top of the cake, making a swirly pattern with a knife. It will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin.